This is a comprehensive and authoritative reference collection in the philosophy and methodology of the socialsciences. The source materials selected are drawn from debates within the natural sciences as well as social scientific practice. This four volume set covers the traditional literature on the philosophy of the socialsciences, and the contemporary philosophical and methodological debates developing at the heart of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary groups in the socialsciences. It (...) addresses the needs of researchers and academics who are grappling with the relationship between questions of knowledge construction and the problems of social scientific method. (shrink)
This Alfred Schutz Memorial Lecture discusses the relationship between the phenomenological life-world analysis and the methodology of the socialsciences, which was the central motive of Schutz’s work. I have set two major goals in this lecture. The first is to scrutinize the postulate of adequacy, as this postulate is the most crucial of Schutz’s methodological postulates. Max Weber devised the postulate ‘adequacy of meaning’ in analogy to the postulate of ‘causal adequacy’ (a concept used in jurisprudence) (...) and regarded both as complementary and, in the context of sociological analysis, critical. Schutz extracted the two postulates from the Neokantian epistemology, dismissed the concept of causality, and reduced Weber’s two postulates of adequacy into one, namely, the adequacy of meaning. I discuss the benefits and shortcomings of this reduction. A major problem, in my view, is that Schutz’s reformulation lost the empirical concern that was inherent in Weber’s ‘causal adequacy’. As a result, the models of economics (which shaped Schutz’s conception of social science) are considered to be adequate if they are ‘understandable’ to an everyday actor, even when they are based on the most unrealistic assumptions. To recapture Weber’s empirical orientation I recommend a more restrictive interpretation of the postulate of adequacy that links it to qualitative research and unfolds the critical potential of Schutz’s phenomenological life-world analysis. My second goal is to report on some current developments in German sociology in which a number of approaches explicitly refer to Schutz’s analysis of the life-world and attempt to pursue ‘adequate’ empirical research. This lecture focuses on three approaches: ethnophenomenology, life-world analytic ethnography, and social scientific hermeneutics. (shrink)
The thought about this book has been developed with the view of adding value to the teaching of Research Methodology for undergraduate and graduate students in developing economies like Sierra Leone. At the same time, it is a very useful tool for professionals engaged in research as part of their work life and for which their understanding of the dichotomy between Research Methods and Research Methodology needs to be addressed. It is divided into distinct sections, which makes it (...) very easy for the beginner researcher to understand the difference in concepts used, while at the same time enhancing their basic understanding of scientific tool(s) needed to pursue ontological research, with the aim of adding new value in the body of knowledge. The main motivation for producing the first edition is based on the following: ● To write a book that focused on using and applying the techniques of research methodology in a research setting. ● To write a book that is accessible to students and practicing researchers in developing country like Sierra Leone, where the subject matter is not so well taught, but critical in developing knowledge capacity for graduates entering the profession of research. ● To pursue critical research, particularly in the social science field pertaining to Econometrics, Sociology, Development Economics and many more. (shrink)
There are realist philosophers and social scientists who believe in the indispensability of social ontology. However, we argue that certain pragmatist outlines for inquiry open more fruitful roads to empirical research than such ontologizing perspectives. The pragmatist conceptual tools in a Darwinian vein—concepts like action, habit, coping and community—are in a particularly stark contrast with, for instance, the Searlean and Chomskian metaphysics of human being. In particular, we bring Searle's realist philosophy of society and mind under critical survey (...) in this paper and contrast it with a pragmatist, sociologizing approach. Drawing from Dewey, James, and recent antirepresentationalism, we propose for research work a methodological relationalism of its own kind, altogether detached from the ontologies of society and mind. (shrink)
This 1996 book defends the prospects for a science of society. It argues that behind the diverse methods of the natural sciences lies a common core of scientific rationality that the socialsciences can and sometimes do achieve. It also argues that good social science must be in part about large-scale social structures and processes and thus that methodological individualism is misguided. These theses are supported by a detailed discussion of actual social research, including (...) theories of agrarian revolution, organizational ecology, social theories of depression, and supply-demand explanations in economics. Professor Kincaid provides a general picture of explanation and confirmation in the socialsciences and discusses the nature of scientific rationality, functional explanation, optimality arguments, meaning and interpretation, the place of microfoundations in social explanation, the status of neo-classical economics, the role of idealizations and non-experimental evidence, and other specific controversies. (shrink)
This paper focuses on Ludwig von Mises methodological apriorism. It uses Wittgenstein's private language argument as the basis for a critique of Mises's claim to have found apodictically certain foundations for economic analysis. It is argued instead that Mises's methodology is more fruitfully viewed as an exercise in social ontology, the objective of which is to outline key features of the socio-economic world that social scientific research ought to take into account if it is to be fruitful. (...) The implications of this perspective for three key methodological issues, namely the relationship between theory and history, the possibility of naturalism, and the place of Austrian economics within the discipline of economics as a whole, are brought out. (shrink)
This is the definitive companion to the study of the philosophy of the socialsciences. It provides the student with an accessible, comprehensive and philosophically rigorous introduction to all the major philosophical concepts, issues and debates raised by the socialsciences. Ideal for use in undergraduate courses, the structure and content of this textbook-the most thorough, clearly argued and up-to-date available-closely reflect the way the philosophy of the socialsciences is studied and taught. The (...) text examines key conceptual and methodological questions in the socialsciences and illustrates how these shape the practice of research, the interpretation of findings and theory formulation in such disciplines as economics, political science and psychology. The book not only offers lucid and incisive coverage of the philosophy of the socialsciences, but also extends the major debates and considers the latest directions in this growing area of philosophical interest. Robert C. Bishop's cogent and rigorous analysis is supplemented by useful pedagogical features, including key examples from philosophical writing; summaries of core debates; sample questions and exercises; and guides for further reading. (shrink)
James Bohman has succeeded in reinvigorating the old debate over explanation and understanding by situating it within contemporary discussions about sociological indeterminacy and complexity. I argue that Bohman's preference for a paradigm based on Habermas's theory of communicative action is justifiable given the explanatory deficiencies of ethnomethodological, rational choice, rule-based, and functionalist methodologies. Yet I do not share his belief that the paradigm is preferable to less formalized models of interpretation.
The concepts of rationality that are used by social scientists in the formation of hypotheses, models and explanations are explored in this collection of original papers by a number of distinguished philosophers and social scientists. The aim of the book is to display the variety of the concepts used, to show the different roles they play in theories of very different kinds over a wide range of disciplines, including economics, sociology, psychology, political science and anthropology, and to assess (...) the explanatory and predictive power that a theory can draw from such concepts. (shrink)
Book synopsis: This is the first volume of a two-volume introduction to and guide through philosophy. It is intended to orientate, assist, and stimulate the reader at every stage in the study of the subject. Eleven extended essays have been specially commissioned from leading philosophers; each surveys a major area of the subject and offers an accessible but sophisticated account of the main debates. An extended introduction maps out the philosophical terrain and explains how the different subjects relate to each (...) other. The first part of the book deals with the foundations of philosophical enquiry: epistemology; philosophical logic; methodology; metaphysics; and the philosophy of mind. The second part offers four historical chapters, two on ancient and two on modern philosophy, introducing great thinkers from the past, explaining and discussing their ideas, and showing the value of studying them today. The third part comprises two chapters devoted to questions of value, in ethics and aesthetics. Full annotated bibliographies are provided at the ends of chapters to serve as guides to further reading. This is real philosophy, not simplified philosophy; it will be accessible for the beginner but equally valuable for the third-year student. Deep and challenging questions are not shirked; the reader will be given a sense of involvement in the practice of philosophy today. (shrink)
The attempt of modern social science to follow the methods of the physical sciences in seeking verification of its theories by statistical techniques is a result of an outmoded view of the methods of the physicist. The decisive element in verifying a theory is not the amassing of large bodies of data but insightful judgment into a relatively few cases. Because the will is primary in scientific activity, scientific statements, particularly those of social science, have the same (...) cognitive status as religious and ethical beliefs. Continued disagreements are, therefore, inevitable in the socialsciences. (shrink)
It is common knowledge that problems of method have been exceptionally important in the history of science in modern times. Furthermore, their treatment with respect to the specifics of historical and social cognition has been intimately interwoven with interpretation of the fundamental questions of philosophy.
For two decades the German edition of this book has been a standard reference point for students of the philosophy of the socialsciences in Germany. Today it still stands as a unique and masterful guide to the major problems and possibilities in this field.On the Logic of the SocialSciences foreshadowed the direction in which methodological discussions have traveled since it appeared and anticipated the problems they presently face. Habermas's statement of the principal issues is (...) concise and elegant, and his own original resolution of them is of continuing relevance. He considers the main lines of thought pursued by epistemologists and methodologists of the socialsciences, from neo-Kantianism to behaviorism, and from problems of measurement to those of interpretive logic, in a sustained and provocative argument that involves analysis and critique at every point and ends with his own sharply profiled position.Beginning with the turn of the century debates on the distinction between natural and cultural sciences, Habermas discusses the relationship between sociology and history. He takes up the problem of a general theory of social action, focusing first on the nature of "interpretive understanding" and then on the scope and limits of functionalist explanation. In the concluding sections, he draws on psychoanalysis and classical social theory to sketch the outlines of his view of sociology as a critical theory of the present. Along the way he provides a great deal of material that is useful in understanding his own work.Jürgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. On the Logic of the SocialSciences is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy. (shrink)
Because we need to know how clearly about our social thinking and how to resist the allure of self-deception, everyone skeptical about or confused by the findings of the socialsciences will appreciate Antony Flew's crisp analysis of the methodological flaws and systematic misunderstandings corrupting their content and application. Thinking About Social Thinking seeks to establish what can and cannot be learned from such studies, indicating where good work has been ignored, or much-needed work has yet (...) to be done. Flew's clear and incisive arguments are illustrated with abundant examples and references -- many entertaining, others surprising. Flew issues a refreshing, impassioned warning against the perils of complacent, muddled thinking and false but comfortable conclusions. (shrink)
A welcome reader in recent literature on the methodology and commitments of social science, including 21 sizable essays from the works of Simmel, Winch, Nagel, Hempel, Weber, Ayer, Merleau-Ponty and others. The editor provides an impressive introduction, brief prefaces to the five sections, an index, notes on the contributors, and an extensive bibliography. What makes this volume exciting is its dialectical make-up: it is conceived as an argument, the selections being arranged to form a sustained debate on a (...) number of issues clustered around the idea of a social science. Some of the issues involved: is social science a science?, the nature of theory construction, the merits of Verstehen as method, the place of value theory in social science, and the bearings of theory on practice.--N. S. C. (shrink)
A strong parallel exists between current research methodologies in the socialsciences and the two most central and popular approaches to aesthetics over the last four centuries. The point of this paper is to show this parallel, to demonstrate the importance and relevance of this parallel, and finally to examine ways of deciding, given this parallel between research methodologies and aesthetic approaches, which research methodology in a given context is the better.
How distinct is European philosophy of science? The first step is to characterize what is or might be considered as ‘European philosophy of science’. The second is to analyse philosophy of the socialsciences as a relevant case in the European contribution to philosophy of science. ‘European perspective’ requires some clarification, which can be done from two main angles: the historical approach and the thematic view. Thus, there are several structural and dynamic things to be considered in European (...) philosophy of science and compare with other conceptions: the topics discussed; the contents proposed; and the style of thought used. The case of philosophy of the socialsciences is relevant for the historical approach and for the thematic view. Historically, the Erklären–Verstehen methodological controversy arose in this continent, where the main authors and most of the influential approaches are located. Thematically, we can consider the contributions made by these European approaches... (shrink)
Richard Rorty challenges the traditional use of hermeneutic understanding to defend the methodological autonomy of the socialsciences, claiming that hermeneutics is part of both social and natural science and, moreover, that it exposes the limits of ?epistemologically centered philosophy?. Hermeneutics is interested in edification rather than truth, in finding new ways of speaking rather than adjudicating knowledge claims or securing the grounds of rational consensus. Although Rorty refers to Gadamer's ?philosophical hermeneutics? as support for this position, (...) Gadamer's own analysis points in a different direction. First, it distinguishes the social from the natural sciences as forms of practical, not theoretical, knowledge. As hermeneutic analyses, the socialsciences participate in an on?going dialogue about values and forms of life. Second, the goal of this dialogue is cognitive and normative agreement. Indeed, hermeneutics is an act of integration which tries to expand consensus between different cultures and historical perspectives by mediating their claims to truth. (shrink)
Stephen Turner has explored the ongms of social science in this pioneering study of two nineteenth century themes: the search for laws of human social behavior, and the accumulation and analysis of the facts of such behavior through statistical inquiry. The disputes were vigorously argued; they were over questions of method, criteria of explanation, interpretations of probability, understandings of causation as such and of historical causation in particular, and time and again over the ways of using a natural (...) science model. From his careful elucidation of John Stuart Mill's proposals for the methodology of the socialsciences on to his original analysis of the methodological claims and practices of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, Turner has beautifully traced the conflict between statistical sociology and a science offactual description on the one side, and causal laws and a science of nomological explanation on the other. We see the works of Comte and Quetelet, the critical observations of Herschel, Buckle, Venn and Whewell, and the tough scepticism of Pearson, all of these as essential to the works of the classical founders of sociology. With Durkheim's essay on Suicide and Weber's monograph on The Protestant Ethic, Turner provides both philosophical analysis to demonstrate the continuing puzzles over cause and probability and also a perceptive and wry account of just how the puzzles of our late twentieth century are of a piece with theirs. The terms are still familiar: reasons vs. (shrink)
The philosophic distinction between the human and natural sciences was introduced by the romantics, but no sooner had the distinction been made than experimental psychology sprang into life and demolished it. Though scientific accounts of human events have been present for over a century, philosophers keep trying to exclude human affairs from the purview of science on a priori grounds. This tradition started with Hegel, who, for the duration of his professorship in Berlin, prevented the appointment of a professor (...) of psychology. Philosophers have been introducing conceptual distinctions based either on alleged special methodologies of the human sciences or on some peculiarities of human subject matters. Positivist philosophy of science presented an unrealistic ideal of science that facilitated proving that it is inapplicable to the human or social realm. The demise of positivism left the philosophy of the socialsciences in dire need of an explication that is both empirical and based on a contemporary understanding of science. Harold Kincaid goes a long way toward building such a philosophy. (shrink)
Empirical bioethics is commonly understood as integrating empirical research with normative-ethical research in order to address an ethical issue. Methodological analyses in empirical bioethics mainly focus on the integration of socio-empirical sciences and normative ethics. But while there are numerous multidisciplinary research projects combining life sciences and normative ethics, there is few explicit methodological reflection on how to integrate both fields, or about the goals and rationales of such interdisciplinary cooperation. In this paper we will review some drivers (...) for the tendency of empirical bioethics methodologies to focus on the collaboration of normative ethics with particularly socialsciences. Subsequently, we argue that the ends of empirical bioethics, not the empirical methods, are decisive for the question of which empirical disciplines can contribute to empirical bioethics in a meaningful way. Using already existing types of research integration as a springboard, five possible types of research which encompass life sciences and normative analysis will illustrate how such cooperation can be conceptualized from a methodological perspective within empirical bioethics. We will conclude with a reflection on the limitations and challenges of empirical bioethics research that integrates life sciences. (shrink)
In this wide-ranging work, now available in paperback, Habermas presents his views on the nature of the socialsciences and their distinctive methodology and concerns. He examines, among other things, the traditional division between the natural sciences and the socialsciences; the characteristics of social action and the implications of theories of language for social enquiry; and the nature, tasks and limitations of hermeneutics. Habermas' analysis of these and other themes is, as (...) always, rigorous, perceptive and constructive. This brilliant study succeeds in highlighting the distinctive characteristics of the socialsciences and in outlining the nature of, and prospects for, critical theory today. (shrink)